Lebanon: Man detained in Turkish pilots’ abduction

BEIRUT (AP) — Officials say a Lebanese man has been arrested in connection with the abduction of two Turkish pilots, snatched by gunmen while on a stopover in Beirut.

The security officials say police and armed forces increased security measures around Turkish offices in Lebanon following the arrest. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The officials identified the arrested man as Mohammed Saleh. He was taken into custody late Sunday after allegedly contacting the pilots’ kidnappers.

The abductions, which took place on Friday, appear linked to neighboring Syria’s civil war and could be a possible retaliation for the holding since May 2012 of nine Lebanese Shiites Muslim pilgrims by Syrian rebels.

Turkey has backed the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels in Syria while the Lebanese are deeply divided over the conflict.

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